Two group decision making tools frequently used by quality improvement teams to make decisions are Multivoting and Nominal Group Technique (NGT).
While idea-generating tools such as Brainstorming produce a list of possible alternatives, Multivoting and Nominal Group Technique help to identify the important or popular items or prioritize the items on a list.
It is important to understand that not all decisions are made in a team situation. Of those decisions that are made by teams, not every one be made using these decision making tools.
Decision Making Tools Selection...
Try Multivoting if you need to:
Try Nominal Group Technique if you need a more structured approach to:
Multivoting is a group decision making tool used to reduce a long list of items to a manageable number by means of a structured series of votes. The result is a short list identifying what is important to the team.
Use Multivoting whenever a Brainstorming session has generated a list of items that is too extensive for all items to be addressed at once.
Because Multivoting provides a quick and easy way for a team to identify the most popular or highest priority items on a list—those that are worthy of immediate attention—this tool can be helpful when you need to:
Follow these steps to conduct Multivoting:
Step 1 - Work from a large list of items developed by Brainstorming or another appropriate idea-generating technique.
Step 2 - Assign a letter to each item to avoid confusion of item designations with the vote tally.
Step 3 - Vote
Step 4 - Tally the votes. Place a check mark next to each item for each vote it received. Retain the items with the most votes for the next round of voting. You can use the following Rule of Thumb for deciding how many items to eliminate in each round, depending on the size of the group:
Step 5 - Repeat. In the second round, each person again selects the top one-third of the items. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until only a few items remain. Never multivote down to only one item. The items that were not identified as priorities should be retained as backup data or for future use by the team in its improvement efforts.
Nominal Group Technique is a weighted ranking method that enables a group to generate and prioritize a large number of issues within a structure that gives everyone an equal voice. The tool is called nominal because there is limited interaction between members of the group during the NGT process.
When should a group use Nominal Group Technique?
When a team needs to create a list of options and rank them, using NGT effectively neutralizes the domination of the loudest person, or the person with the most authority, over the decision-making process. This tool can also help a team achieve consensus about the relative importance of issues. The final result may not be everyone's first priority, but they can live with it.
NGT is a good tool to use when dealing with controversial or emotional issues, or when a group is stuck. It is particularly useful when you need to:
Nominal Group Technique consists of two parts
NGT PART I - The issue is defined and the team generates ideas.
Working in silence, each team member writes down his or her ideas on a piece of paper. People should not confer with each other and should sit quietly until everyone finishes writing.
Depending on the complexity of the topic, 5 to 10 minutes should be allowed for the silent process. People need to have enough time to get the broad, general ideas down, but not enough to create long, detailed lists.
NOTE: If post-its are available, you may want to ask the participants to write each of their ideas on a separate sheet and hand them in. You can display the ideas randomly, rather than writing them down. These post-itsTM can be used later to create an Affinity Diagram.
NGT PART 2 - The team makes the selection.
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